[This interview was conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike authorization.]
Cruel Summer Season 2 is set in the Y2K era. Taking place in three different time periods in the same year at the end of the millennium, Gen Z stars Sadie Stanley (21) and Lexi Underwood (19) are leaning into the early 2000s nostalgia that defined their childhoods for the season. But what are their favorite pop culture references from that time? We asked, and their answers are in the video interview above.
The Princess Diaries (2001) is at the top of Stanley’s mind when thinking about her favorite 2000s movies. “That was like my childhood,” she told us in the TV Insider office. Almost Famous and American Psycho (both 2000) are two more beloved flicks. For Underwood, her favorites are 10 Things I Hate About You, Love Jones, and Love & Basketball.
When it comes to favorite TV shows, One Tree Hill is the first that comes to mind for Stanley, and for Underwood, it’s A Different World. As for TV stars, Sarah Jessica Parker is a favorite for Stanley, a Sex and the City fanatic. Underwood loves Nia Long and Meagan Good. “They were definitely ‘it’ girls of that time, and obviously their work was so great on screen, too. Very captivating.”
The music references are where their excitement truly pops out. The actors list a string of 2000s hits including “Steal My Sunshine” by Len, “Just a Girl” by No Doubt, Lauryn Hill hits, and more. In our previous video, the co-stars said Nelly Furtado’s “I’m Like a Bird” felt like a fitting song for Cruel Summer.
“I’m Like a Bird” is certainly an instantly recognizable early 2000s hit, but the vibe of Cruel Summer is considerably less bright. The Freeform drama flashes between July 1999, December 1999, and July 2000 to try and solve the mystery of Luke Chambers’ (Griffin Gluck) murder. Stanley stars as Megan Landry opposite Gluck’s Luke. The characters went from best friends to a couple. Underwood stars as exchange student Isabella, whose time in the fictional town of Chatham, Washington ends up being a far cry from the “normal American high-school experience that [she’s] always seen in movies.”
Cruel Summer, Mondays, 9/8c, Freeform